Graham Barnhart: “Pashtu Refresher”

Pashtu Refresher

Zeh dodai khoram

Gatorade bottles like votive candles
half full of toilet paper and dip spit
we chant in the armory classroom

teko dodai khorai

intoning each conjugation with the same
careful automation
used to clean our rifle parts.

hagoi dodai khoree

Bolt scattered to its seven pieces
on a school desk. Gun oil decorates
an altar to the god of preparation.

Zeh dodai khoram
teko dodai khorai
hagoi dodai khoree

I eat food. You eat food.
We eat food like a charm
against ill will in all of its extremes.

Graham Barnhart holds an MFA in poetry from The Ohio State University, is a veteran of the US Army, and a 2017 Wallace Stegner Fellow. His work has been awarded the 2016 Jeff Sharlett Memorial Award for Veterans, the 2015 Chad Walsh Poetry Prize, and has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, The Sewanee Review, Waxwing, Prelude, and others.

photo credit: JeremyOK iridescent-ice via photopin (license)